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Welcome to the webbed and wired edition of R&R, aristotle. We’ll be doing the same sort of song and dance here as we do in print: reviewing the latest comics and cartoon-related books and ranting about trends and abuses and unfathomable foolishnesses. Each installment will stay here for about four weeks, with a new one coming in just about every other week or so. If you don’t have the time to ponder every punctuation mark in this deathless prose and merely want to see what might be there that would interest you, we suggest you scroll down the page looking for the bold-face type that heralds the notables who reside herein this week. So here we go with Opus 364 (and a reprise of Opus 363):


Opus 364: Corto Maltese, Dieter Lumpen, Mankoff’s Autobiography, Jack Cole’s Cuties, Stein Cartooning Again, Reuben Nominees, Editooning the Health Care Debacle (and Other Trump Malfeasances) & Obits for Jay Lynch, Skip Williamson, Bernie Wrightson, James Stevenson and Howard Shoemaker (March 31, 2017).


Opus 363: Editoons on Trump’s First Month, Wallace Wood Life and Legend, Nudes Return to Playboy, Word of the Year, Trump the Fourth-Grader & Obits for Jack Mendelsohn, Herb Galewitz and Dan Spiegle (February 28, 2017).






Opus 364  (March 31, 2017). This posting of Rancid Raves, like all the others, is all just talk, talk about comics and cartooning. Stuff I dote on. So if I wax on at great and unforgiving lengths, well—that’s just that much more talk about comics, and if you, like me, like to talk about and contemplate comics and cartooning, then the feast laid out here won’t be a groaning board but a joyous celebration. There is, perforce, a lot, a lot of talk and a lot of pictures. But maybe you won’t be interested in all of it, right away. We encourage you to scan the listing that follows this preamble, choose the topics you want to spend time with and then scroll down until you get to them.

            A couple flags, though. Four great cartoonists died over the last month—Jay Lynch, Skip Williamson (within 11 days of each other), Bernie Wrightson, and The New Yorker’s James Stevenson, plus Howard Shoemaker, a long-time Playboy contributor. We eschew the sadness usually associated with pall-bearing in favor of appreciative memorials for them all, with a generous sampling of their work, which is sometimes jocular to the point of iconoclasm.

            We also contemplate Jack Cole’s cuties and do lengthy reviews of two great graphic novels—Corto Maltese, back in a new translation, and Dieter Lumpen, at least Corto’s equal in the adventuring game. For the legendary European favorite Corto, we do a virtual history of the character and his creator, Hugo Pratt. Here’s what’s here, in order, by department—:




Health Care Fiasco

Reuben Nominees

Tom the Dancing Bug Gets Herblock

Sack Gets Thomas Nast Award from OPC

Mad Westbound?

Archie Into the Movies

Malaysia Stops “Beauty and the Beast”—Briefly

Bell Wins Berryman

Garfield’s Sex Affirmed


Odds & Addenda

Guest Appearances in Dick Tracy

Bob Mankoff Retires

The Pro on the Big Screen?

Stan Lee Better

FCBD May 6



First Issues Reviewed are—:

The Old Guard

The Visitor

Black Road



The Assignment, Nos.1-3


And Up-dating—:

Kill Or Be Killed

Wonder Woman 75th Anniversary

DC Universe Rebirth

Lady Killer



Appreciating Some of the Best Editoons on—

Health Care Debacle

The Trumpet’s First Month



The Return of Editoonist Ed Stein

(Who Couldn’t Stand It Silently Anymore)



Lost Spillane Is Found



Strange and Wonderful Events in the Funnies



Reviews of Neglected Books of Interest, Namely—:

Classic Pin-Up Art of Jack Cole

1000 Pin-Up Girls



Pop Tarts and the Justice League



Short Reviews of—:

How About Never—Is Never Good for You? My Life in Cartoons

Sh*t My President Says: The Illustrated Tweets of Donald J. Trump




Er, Graphic Novels

The Adventures of Dieter Lumpen

Under the Sign of Capricorn: A Corto Maltese Graphic Novel

Exquisite Corpse: Dying To Be An Author



Appreciative Obits for—:

Jay Lynch

Skip Williamson

Bernie Wrightson

James Stevenson

Howard Shoemaker




If Not of A Lifetime

“Goddamn it, you’ve got to be kind.”—Kurt Vonnegut


Our Motto: It takes all kinds. Live and let live.

Wear glasses if you need ’em.

But it’s hard to live by this axiom in the Age of Tea Baggers,

so we’ve added another motto:.

Seven days without comics makes one weak.

(You can’t have too many mottos.)


And our customary reminder: when you get to the $ubscriber/Associate Section (perusal of which is restricted to paid subscribers), don’t forget to activate the “Bathroom Button” by clicking on the “print friendly version” so you can print off a copy of just this installment for reading later, at your leisure while enthroned. Without further adieu, then, here we go—:




Some of All the News That Gives Us Fits


The BIG NEWS of the week is that the GOP blew it, demonstrating beyond question the acuity of its nick-nom de guerre, the Grandstanding Obstructionist Pachyderm. The Party of No proved that it is only the Opposition Party: it can obstruct and oppose but it cannot legislate. It cannot govern. And on the Other Side of the $ubscribers Wall, we have a short collection, a quartet, of editoons on the subject of the spectacular failure to repeal and replace Obamacare.

            Until you get there, here’s PBS Newshour’s liberal commentator Mark Shields at the end of that catastrophic Friday, March 24, condemning the Republicons’ colossal fumble in a blistering rant. I’ve never seen him so unreservedly irrate. So angry and disgusted. For so long a diatribe. Here he is—:

            “Speaking in general—the Republican Part is an opposition party. It’s a protest party. We have a protest President. We have a protest party. It’s not a governing party. It showed itself unable to accept the responsibility in the accountability of government. This bill was not a bad bill. It was an abomination. There was no public case to be made for the bill. There was no public argument to be made for the bill because nobody knew what was in it. There was no public campaign for the bill. No organization—every organization involved in medical care, they were all against the bill. It was a terrible bill. The only organizing principle was that it was against Barack O’Bama.

            “Paul Ryan, a very earnest policy wonk, showed himself to be an inept political leader. He couldn’t even lean on the safest seats in his party’s caucus. These are people whose re-election is not at all threatened. He could go to them and say, I need you. I need your vote. But he didn’t even do that.

            “Donald Trump showed he has no understand of the legislative process. He used a lot of colorful words—it’s a wonderful bill, a fantastic bill. But he had no idea what was in it. The art of the deal just collapsed. This is a man who gave away the store to the Freedom Caucus, and he got nothing in return. He didn’t even get their votes.

            “It was a disaster in public policy and for the country. In no way was this anything but a disaster.”

            In short, no one—not the Trumpet, not Ryan, not the GOP, not the protest movement, and certainly not the so-called “Freedom Caucus,” the party’s most obstructionist element—came out of this debacle unscathed. In fact, they were all scarred for life. Their action in every sense was, as Nancy Pelosi observed, a “rookie” performance, something attempted by people so grossly unfamiliar with the terrain that they were lost from the very beginning.

            On Monday, after the intervening weekend’s strife and finger-pointing—a veritable “festival of recrimination,” as E.J. Dionne Jr at the Washington Post put it— back on the PBS Newshour, Amy Water, another of the program’s commentators, noted that the famous Trump style may have worked during the campaign, but it didn’t work in legislation. She mimicked Trump, mocking him: “I can’t tell you about it. But it’s a wonderful bill. Vote for it because you like me.”

            But that wasn’t enough, she concluded.

            But it’s enough for now. More later, down the scroll to the Editoonery Department.




National Cartoonists Society members have nominated the top five finalists for the 2016 NCS Reuben Award for Cartoonist of the Year. Ballots are now being cast by all voting NCS members, and the results will be announced when the Reuben is presented to the winner at the 71st Annual Reuben Awards Banquet on May 27th in Portland, Oregon.

            This year’s line-up of nominees is historic in at least two ways. First, it includes more than one token woman cartoonist. And there are more women nominees than men. Finally, two of the five are not syndicated newspaper comic strip cartoonists. Wonders never cease.

            Cynics among us will frown, saying three women on the ballot will split the “woman vote” and necessarily result in one of the two men winning. So much for cynicism.

            The nominees and their credits are detailed at the NCS website:

            Lynda Barry is a cartoonist and writer. She’s authored 21 books and received numerous awards and honors including an Honorary Doctor of Fine Arts degree from University of the Arts, Philadelphia, two Will Eisner Awards, the American Library Association’s Alex Award, the Washington State Governor’s Award, the Wisconsin Library Associations RR Donnelly Award, the Wisconsin Visual Art Lifetime Achievement Award, and was inducted into the Will Eisner Hall of Fame in 2016. Her book, One! Hundred! Demons! was required reading for all incoming freshmen at Stanford University in 2008. She’s currently Associate Professor of Interdisciplinary Creativity and Director of the Image Lab at the University of Wisconsin-Madison were she teaches writing and picture-making. Lynda was nominated for Cartoonist of the Year for 2016 and will be the recipient of the Milton Caniff Lifetime Achievement Award at this year’s meeting in Portland Oregon. You can follow Lynda on Twitter at @NearSightedMonkey.

            Stephan Pastis is the creator of the daily comic strip Pearls Before Swine, syndicated by Universal Uclick. Stephan practiced law in the San Fransisco Bay area before following his love of cartooning and eventually seeing syndication with Pearls, which was launched in newspapers beginning December 31, 2001. NCS awarded Pearls Before Swine the Best Newspaper Comic Strip in 2003 and in 2006. Stephan is also the author of the children’s book series Timmy Failure. Stephan lives in northern California with his wife Staci and their two children. This is his ninth nomination for Cartoonist of the Year. Visit Stephan’s blog and the Pearls Before Swine website.

            Hilary Price is the creator of Rhymes With Orange, a daily newspaper comic strip syndicated by King Features. Created in 1995, Rhymes has won the NCS Best Newspaper Panel Division four times (2007, 2009, 2012 and 2014). Her work has also appeared in Parade Magazine, The Funny Times, People and Glamour. When she began drawing Rhymes, she was the youngest woman to ever have a syndicated strip. Hilary draws the strip in an old toothbrush factory that has since been converted to studio space for artists. She lives in western Massachusetts. This is Hilary’s fourth nomination for the Cartoonist of the Year. You can visit Rhymes With Orange online.

            Mark Tatulli is a syndicated cartoonist who produces two daily newspaper comic strips, Heart of the City and Lio, which appear in 400 newspapers all over the world. He currently has written three books in a children’s illustrated novel series entitled Desmond Pucket, which has been optioned for television by Radical Sheep. He also has two planned children’s picture books coming from Roaring Book Press, an imprint of McMillian Publishing. Lio (a sample of which appears below) has been nominated three times for the NCS Best Comic Strip, winning in 2009. Lio was also nominated for Germany’s Max and Moritz Award in 2010. This is Mark’s third nomination for Cartoonist of the Year. You can follow Mark on Facebook at and find his Lio strips here

            Ann Telnaes creates editorial cartoons in various mediums— animation, visual essays, live sketches, and traditional print— for the Washington Post. She won the Pulitzer Prize in 2001 for her print cartoons. Telnaes’ print work was shown in a solo exhibition at the Great Hall in the Thomas Jefferson Building of the Library of Congress in 2004. Her first book, Humor’s Edge, was published by Pomegranate Press and the Library of Congress in 2004. A collection of Vice President Cheney cartoons, Dick, was self-published by Telnaes and Sara Thaves in 2006. Other awards include: the NCS Reuben Division Award for Editorial Cartoons (2016), the National Press Foundation’s Berryman Award (2006), the Maggie Award, Planned Parenthood (2002), the 15th Annual International Dutch Cartoon Festival (2007), the National Headliner Award (1997), the Population Institute XVII Global Media Awards (1996), and the Sixth Annual Environmental Media Awards (1996).

            Telnaes worked for several years as a designer for Walt Disney Imagineering. She has also animated and designed for various studios in Los Angeles, New York, London, and Taiwan.

Telnaes is the current president of the Association of American Editorial Cartoonists (AAEC). This is Ann’s first Cartoonist of the Year nomination.You can visit Ann’s website,, and follow her on twitter at @AnnTelnaes. Cryptic samples of the nominees’ cartooning appear on the Other Side of the $ubscribers Wall.




The Herblock Foundation's press release:

Ruben Bolling, pen name for Ken Fisher, has been named the winner of the 2017 Herblock Prize for editorial cartooning for his weekly page-size comic-strip format cartoon Tom the Dancing Bug, a free-format cartoon that uses varying types of humor, artistic styles and formats. It’s an unusual strip in that in any given week, it could feature a spoof, a multi-panel sketch, political or absurdist humor, recurring characters or caricatures of real people. But during 2016, political subject matter was at its heart, as it mostly dealt with the election and the rise to power of Donald Trump. In any year, it would be an unusual—that is, unconventional—choice for an award typically given to the time-honored editorial page single-panel commentary cartoon.

            Judges for this year’s contest were Mark Fiore, editorial cartoonist in animation and winner of the 2016 Herblock Prize; Matt Wuerker, editorial cartoonist for Politico and 2010 Herblock Prize winner; and Martha Kennedy, curator of Popular and Applied Graphic Art at the Library of Congress.

            Fiore said: “Ruben Bolling’s cartoons are consistently sharp, funny and incredibly original. His use of recurring characters, like Hollingsworth Hound and Lucky Ducky, add a wonderfully inventive richness to his masterful satire. Bolling’s deft skewering operates under the cover of silly cartoon fun.”

            Said Wuerker: “Ruben Bolling created his own unique style of political cartoon, one that’s full of sly allusions and clever twists. Tom the Dancing Bug pushed the form into new territory with imaginative tropes, deft imagery and provocative allegory. He makes his political points with a humor and writing style that’s fresh and singularly his own.”

            In his strip, Bolling repeatedly demonstrates his concern about the power of large corporations, saith St. Wikipedia, and satirizes the way government has been corrupted by money. Particularly since 9/11, Bolling's work often concerns war. Many of his strips admit no political interpretation, instead featuring absurdist humor or parodying comic strip conventions. Bolling's lampoons of celebrity culture, such as in the parodic series of comic strips labeled "Funny, Funny, Celebs," can be scathing.

            It was while attending Harvard in the mid-1980s that Fisher came up with the idea for Tom the Dancing Bug and his pseudonym, Ruben Bolling (which is a melding of the names of two favorite old-time baseball players, Ruben Amaro and Frank Bolling). The strip originally ran in the Harvard Law School Record.

      St. Wikipedia quotes Bolling: “I started Tom the Dancing Bug in 1990 in a small New York newspaper. It was called New York Perspectives, then it was called New York Weekly, then it was called ‘bankrupt.’ But before it went bankrupt, I was able to sell the strip to a few other papers. For seven years, I was sending packages out and following up with phone calls, trying to get editors to run the strip. I ended up selling it to about 60 newspapers [under the name Quaternary Features]. I was surprised at the success I had, especially in selling to daily newspapers. I didn't think it would be my market.

      “Then in 1997, the Universal Press Syndicate approached me and asked if we could work together. That came at just the right time, as I was starting a more serious day job, and I was about to have my first baby. I just didn't have the time and energy to devote to the selling of the strip. I decided that whatever job they did would be better than whatever I could put forth at that time.”

            You can see more examples of the Bug that Dances by Googling “Tom the Dancing Bug.” Happy hunting.

            This year’s Finalist (runner-up) is Marty Two Bulls Sr., a freelance Oglala Dakota cartoonist who has drawn editorial cartoons for the Indian Country Today Media Network since 2001. He will receive a $5,000 after-tax cash prize. Fiore commented: “The cartoons of Marty Two Bulls, Sr. take a hard-hitting look at issues impacting native peoples. His bold style screams with powerful messages that have been overlooked by much of society. Two Bulls’ strong work exemplifies a courage and ferocity that is the lifeblood of a good political cartoon.” Samples of his work and the Bug that Dances appear on the Other Side of the $ubscribers Wall.

            On his blog, Bolling said: “I'm very honored to have won the 2017 Herblock Prize. I thank the Herblock Foundation and the judges. And thanks to all the very kind congratulatory words from folks all around social media. I'm proud to share the award (but not the prize money) with my partners and absolutely essential friends: Boing Boing, which premiers Tom the Dancing Bug on the Web every week, Andrews McMeel Syndication, which distributes it to my great and valued newspaper clients, plus Daily Kos and GoComics... and of course, that motley squad of the greatest heroes, ne'er-do-wells, gamblers and outlaws ever assembled, the Proud & Mighty INNER HIVE, without whom, truly, none of this would be possible.

            “And congratulations to the Herblock Finalist Marty Two Bulls Sr., an Oglala Dakota artist and cartoonist who does fantastic and very diverse work.”

            The Herblock Prize is awarded annually by the Herb Block Foundation for “distinguished examples of editorial cartooning that exemplify the courageous independent standard set by Herblock.” The winner receives a $15,000 after-tax cash prize and a sterling silver Tiffany trophy. Bolling will receive the Prize on March 29th in a ceremony held at the Library of Congress. Representative John Lewis, the U.S. Representative for Georgia's 5th congressional district, will deliver the annual Herblock Lecture at the awards ceremony.

            Tom the Dancing Bug, distributed by Andrews McMeel Syndication to many newspapers across North America, also appears on:, one of the most linked-to websites in the world;, the U.S.’s largest progressive blog; and, the largest comic strip website.

            Ruben Bolling was the Finalist for the 2016 Herblock Prize, the 2014 winner of the Society of Illustrators Best Cartoon Award in its Art Annual, and in 2011, Bolling won the Sigma Delta Chi Award from The Society of Professional Journalists, for Editorial Cartooning. Tom the Dancing Bug has been twice-nominated for the Harvey Award for Best Comic Strip or Panel, and has won the Association of Alternative Newsweeklies Award for Best Cartoon five times.




On Tuesday, the Overseas Press Club announced that the Minneapolis Star Tribune’s Steve Sack is this year’s recipient of its Thomas Nast Award for editorial cartooning. Sack, whose work won the 2013 Pulitzer Prize, says he is “immensely honored” to be recognized by the OPC, even as he emphasizes the role of the press in 2017.

            “Technology may be shrinking our world, but without the work of professional journalists to sort out what’s truly of value, we’d be left with nothing but gibberish, commercial pablum and government spin,” Sack tells Michael Cavna at the Washington Post’s Comic Riffs. “The press is my window to the world. To have my cartoons recognized by those whose efforts I depend on every day,” he adds, “is most gratifying.”

            The OPC judges said that “Sack successfully harnessed all the cartoonist’s tools — caricature, composition, biting wit and solid journalism — in his impressive portfolio.”

            Said Cavna: “Sack draws a rather uncanny Vladimir Putin, complete with heavily hooded eyes perched above long cheekbones — as if even the Russian leader’s very face is simultaneously distancing itself while remaining ever watchful.”

            The OPC also awarded a finalist (runner-up) citation to Adam Zyglis of the Buffalo News.

            “I was extremely happy to see Steve Sack win the top prize,” says Zyglis, who won the 2015 Pulitzer Prize. “He is a true master of the craft, and is at the top of his game right now. To be a finalist behind someone of his caliber is humbling.” Samples of their work appear on the Other Side of the $ubscribers Wall.




Mad caricaturist Tom Richmond pondered the fate of Mad magazine on Wednesday, March 22. ... To See What He Said about the Rumored Move to the West Coast, to Learn about Bestiality in Malaysia and Garfield’s Sex, to Read Reviews of New Comic Books’ First Issues and How Lady Killer Is Doing, plus Trumpet Cartoons of the Month and the GOP Health Care Debacle and Reviews of Books about Jack Cole’s Cuties and The New Yorker’s Cartoons and Famed Corto Maltese Graphic Novels and Another One about Dieter Lumpen, with Appreciative Obits for Lynch, Williamson, Wrightson, Stevenson and Shoemaker—and More, Much More---Click Here And If You're Not a $ubscriber/associate—


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